Osteoarthritis Treatment in Metro Atlanta

Overview of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, it most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips, and spine. Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. At Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia (ARG), we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoarthritis to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life for our patients.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

  • Joint Pain and Stiffness: Pain and stiffness, especially after periods of inactivity or excessive use.
  • Tenderness: Discomfort when pressing on or near the affected joints.
  • Loss of Flexibility: Reduced range of motion in the affected joints.
  • Grating Sensation: A feeling of grating or the presence of bone spurs.
  • Swelling: Inflammation around the affected joints.

Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis

  • Physical Examination: Conducted by a rheumatologist at Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia to check for joint tenderness, swelling, and range of motion.
  • Imaging Tests:
    • X-rays: To detect bone spurs and joint space narrowing.
    • MRI: To provide detailed images of bone and soft tissues, including cartilage.
  • Lab Tests:
    • Blood Tests: To rule out other types of arthritis.
    • Joint Fluid Analysis: To detect inflammation and exclude other conditions like gout or infection.

Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis

  • Medications:
    • Analgesics: Pain relievers such as acetaminophen.
    • NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and inflammation.
    • Topical Medications: Creams and ointments applied to the skin over the affected joints.
  • Therapies:
    • Physical Therapy: Exercises to strengthen the muscles around the joint, increase flexibility, and reduce pain.
    • Occupational Therapy: Techniques to reduce strain on your joints during daily activities.
    • Infusion Therapy: Administered in our in-house infusion suite for medications requiring intravenous delivery.
  • Lifestyle Changes:
    • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce stress on the joints.
    • Exercise: Regular, low-impact activities such as swimming and walking.
    • Diet: A balanced diet to support joint health.
    • Assistive Devices: Canes, braces, and other devices to support affected joints.
  • Surgical Options:
    • Joint Replacement Surgery: Replacing damaged joints with artificial ones.
    • Osteotomy: Realigning bones to relieve pressure on the joints.
    • Joint Fusion: Permanently fusing bones together to increase stability and reduce pain.

Living with Osteoarthritis

  • Pain and Stiffness Management: Using medications, physical therapy, and regular exercise.
  • Joint Function and Mobility: Engaging in regular exercises and using assistive devices if needed.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Keeping up with appointments to monitor disease progression and treatment efficacy.
  • Medication Adherence: Taking prescribed medications as directed to manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups.

Frequently Asked Questions | Osteoarthritis

What causes osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is caused by the wear and tear of cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in your joints. Factors such as age, genetics, and joint injuries can contribute to the development of OA.

How is osteoarthritis different from rheumatoid arthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease resulting from wear and tear, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition causing inflammation in the joints.

Can lifestyle changes help manage osteoarthritis symptoms?
Yes, maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular exercise, and eating a balanced diet can help manage OA symptoms and improve joint health.

What are the side effects of osteoarthritis medications?
Side effects vary depending on the medication but can include gastrointestinal issues, liver damage, and increased risk of cardiovascular problems.

How can physical therapy help with osteoarthritis?
Physical therapy can strengthen the muscles around the joints, increase flexibility, reduce pain, and improve overall function.

Is osteoarthritis hereditary?
There is a genetic component to osteoarthritis, but environmental factors and lifestyle choices also play significant roles.

What are the surgical options for osteoarthritis?
Surgical options include joint replacement, osteotomy, and joint fusion, depending on the severity and location of the osteoarthritis.

Contact Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia

For comprehensive osteoarthritis care, schedule an appointment with Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia. Call us at 404-255-5956 or use our online contact form. We proudly serve patients in the metro Atlanta area and beyond, providing expert care and personalized treatment plans.

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